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May 7, 2012 - 2:36pm
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Weatherstripping doors, operable windows, and other movable building components can save homeowners money by reducing utility bills. | Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/AvailableLight
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?
Weatherstripping is an easy and cost-effective way to save money on energy costs and improve comfort by reducing drafts. Many homeowners install their own weatherstripping.
such as doors or operable windows. or out. You can use weatherstripping in your home to seal air leaks around movable building components. The weatherstripping you choose should seal well when the door or window is closed but allow it to open freely. See table below for information about the common types of weatherstripping. the ease of applying these materials may make them valuable in low-traffic areas. For stationary components. susceptible to weather. 2 . which is slightly more expensive. sideways.up and down. Before applying weatherstripping in an existing home. Also take durability into account when comparing costs. Vinyl. and inefficient at blocking airflow. visible. Weatherstripping in a window sash must accommodate the sliding of panes -. weatherstripping could drag on carpet or erode as a result of foot traffic.HOW DOES IT WORK? Weatherstripping reduces air leakage by creating a tight seal between movable building components such as doors and operable windows and the building structure. temperature changes. stainless steel. and aluminum) last for years and are affordable. copper. caulk is the appropriate material for filling cracks and gaps. when applied to a door bottom or threshold. Choose a product for each specific location. Metal weatherstripping can also provide a nice touch to older homes where vinyl might seem out of place. holds up well and resists moisture. Felt and open-cell foams tend to be inexpensive. Metals (bronze. For example. you will need to detect the air leaks and assess your ventilation needs to ensure adequate indoor air quality. You can use more than one type of weatherstripping to seal an irregularly shaped space. However. CHOOSING WEATHERSTRIPPING Choose a type of weatherstripping that will withstand the friction. weather. and wear and tear associated with its location.
window stops. glued. sold in rolls. open-cell foam. must be sawed. invisible when in place.Weatherstripping Tension seal: Self-stick plastic (vinyl) folded along length in a Vshape or a springy bronze strip (also copper. Very visible. use where little wear is expected. Durability varies with material used. Tape: Nonporous. closed-cell foam. Door or Low Easy to install. Selfadhesive vinyl available. scored well in wind tests. Moderately low Effective sealer. Can increase resistance in opening/closing doors or windows. Vinyl is fairly easy to install. Low durability. Around a door or window (reinforced felt). fitted into a door jamb so the door presses against it. Look of bronze works well for older homes. Moderate. Inside the track of a doublehung or sliding window. Bronze must be nailed in place (every three inches or so) so as not to bend or wrinkle. Very visible. The shape of the material creates a seal by pressing against the sides of a crack to block drafts. Manufacturing process produces greenhouse gas emissions. very effective. least effective preventing airflow. Good for blocking corners and irregular cracks. Best Uses Cost Advantages Disadvantages Surfaces must be flat and smooth for vinyl. and stainless steel) shaped to bridge a gap. top and sides of door. All-wool felt is more durable and more expensive. nailed. rigid. or tacked into place. inexpensive. bottom or top of window sash. or EDPM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber. varies with material used. and painted. Felt: Plain or reinforced with a flexible metal strip. Can be reinforced with staples. visible. Low. as corners must be snug. attic hatches and inoperable windows. Can be difficult to install. Do not use where exposed to moisture or where there is friction or abrasion. works well when compressed. 3 . bottom of door. Some manufacturers include extra strip for door striker plate. Reinforced foam: Closed-cell foam attached to wood or metal strips. aluminum. Seals best if staples are parallel to length of the strip. but not especially high for all. Must be stapled. Can be difficult to install. door frames. inexpensive. Top and bottom of window sash. Durable. Extremely easy to install.
many types are adjustable for uneven Moderate to high. Installation can be tricky. Bottom of Door sweep: Aluminum or stainless steel with brush of plastic. Selfadhesive on pliable vinyl may not adhere to metal. moderate cost. Effective air barrier. Low to moderate. bottom of a door (rigid strip only). vinyl. Hacksaw required Seals well. butting corners pose a challenge. low to Door or Rolled or reinforced vinyl: Pliable or rigid strip gasket (attached to wood or metal strips. 4 . interior side of in-swinging door. double-hung and sliding window channels. threshold. top or bottom of window sash. bottom of exterior side of exteriorswinging door. Around a door. Comes in varying colors to help with visibility. some types of rigid strip gaskets provide slot holes to adjust height. Visible. High Very effective air sealer. Door or window presses against them to form a seal. Tubular rubber and vinyl: Vinyl or sponge rubber tubes with a flange along length to staple or tack into place. Top and sides Magnetic: Works similarly to refrigerator gaskets. Moderate to high. sponge. Can drag on carpet. increasing durability. Reinforced silicone: On a doorjamb Tubular gasket attached to a metal strip that resembles reinforced tubular vinyl or a window stop. Self-stick versions challenging to install. Automatic sweeps are more expensive and can require a small pause once door is unlatched before retracting.) window stops. which reduce drag on carpet and increase durability.Easy installation. Moderate to high. Visible. Relatively easy to install. or felt. to cut metal. of doors. Automatically retracting sweeps also available.
Sheds rain on the Door shoe: Aluminum face attachment with vinyl C-shaped insert to protect under the door. Can be difficult to install. Consult the instructions on the weatherstripping package. durable. Very difficult to install as alignment is critical. Exceptional weather seal. To seal beneath a door. Moderate to high. exterior. 5 . Here are a few basic guidelines: Weatherstripping should be applied to clean. then add 5% to 10% to accommodate any waste. For aluminum Fin seal: Pile weatherstrip with plastic Mylar fin centered in pile. Interlocking metal channels: Around door Enables sash to engage one another when closed perimeters. Effective. To be installed by a professional only. Moderately difficult to install. Moderate to high. The use of different materials means less cold transfer. available in different heights. dry surfaces in temperatures above 20°F (-7° C). Fairly expensive. involves threshold replacement. May require door bottom planing. Can be used with uneven opening. High. APPLYING WEATHERSTRIPPING To determine how much weatherstripping you will need. Weatherstripping supplies and techniques range from simple to the technical. To seal space beneath door. add the perimeters of all windows and doors to be weatherstripped. Combination threshold Bulb threshold: Vinyl and aluminum Door thresholds. Also consider that weatherstripping comes in varying depths and widths. Apply weatherstripping snugly against both surfaces. wood on interior. relatively expensive. Measure the area to be weatherstripped twice before making a cut. sliding windows and sliding glass doors. Moderate to high. Very durable. Moderate to high. Wears from foot traffic. The material should compress when the window or door is shut. with door-bottom seam and vinyl threshold replacement. Some door shoes have replaceable vinyl inserts. "Frost-brake" threshold: Aluminum or other metal on exterior. installation moderately difficult. and weatherstrip.
Weatherstrip the entire door jamb. LEARN MORE Tips: Sealing Air Leaks Air Sealing Your Home Air Sealing for New Home Construction Detecting Air Leaks Caulking External Resources Energy Efficiency in Remodeling: House Air Leakage -. apply weatherstripping between the sash and the frame. For air sealing windows.Iowa Energy Center Weatherization Guide: Air Leakage -. Apply one continuous strip along each side.ENERGY STAR® Home Tightening.When weatherstripping doors: Choose the appropriate door sweeps and thresholds for the bottom of the doors. Use a thickness that causes the weatherstripping to press tightly between the door and the door jamb when the door closes without making it difficult to shut. Make sure the weatherstripping meets tightly at the corners.NAHB Research Center Toolbase Services Home Sealing -. The weatherstripping shouldn't interfere with the operation of the window.Michigan Energy Options Find an Air Sealing Professional DOE Weatherization Assistance Program Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency Climate-Specific Resources for Energy-Efficient Homes Share on tweet RELATED ARTICLES Window Types Tips: Sealing Air Leaks 6 . Insulation and Ventilation .
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